California Department of Motor Vehicles, Administrative hearing, and the criminal court are independent entities, and actions taken by the criminal court are separate from actions taken by the DMV. A DMV Administrative hearing allows a person that received notification of an action taken against their driving privilege to contest the action.
Motorists charged with for example, a DUI, driving under the influence of drugs, or reckless driving generally receive such notifications from the DMV. If you have received a notice from the DMV of actions taken against your driving privileges and you wish to contest the judgement, you must request an administrative hearing within 10 days of receiving personal service or 14 days from the date the DMV notice is mailed. If you do not make the request within this time period, your right to a hearing is forfeited.
At the hearing, you have the right to:
- Be represented by an attorney or other representative, at your own expense.
- Review the evidence and cross examine the testimony of any witness for DMV.
- Testify on your own behalf.
- Cross–examine opposing witnesses.
- Subpoena witnesses and/or documents.
- Introduce evidence on your behalf.
- A full and fair consideration of the facts by an impartial person.
- A Department Review and/or judicial appeal of any adverse decision.
Additionally, though you may review the evidence regarding your case, known as discovery, you must call to request or submit a written request to review and obtain a copy of DMV’s evidence at least 10 days prior to the date of your hearing. It is recommended that you speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney regarding your case. An experienced criminal defense attorney may limit the consequences set forth by the DMV.
The California DMV Administrative hearing officer will present the departments case. The officer is responsible for both evaluating the evidence against you and is the judge, meaning he or she decides who wins the case. Even though the hearing officer has little or no legal training, they are permitted by law to have the dual role, established by Vinson v. Snyder 75 Cal.App.4th 182, 89 Cal.Rptr.2d 44 (5th Dist.1999).
An experienced criminal defense attorney may successfully argue the evidence that the arresting officer had, is insufficient to prove your guilt. For example, say you were charged with a DUI and your blood alcohol level was below a .08, the legal limit, you cannot lawfully be convicted of a DUI by the hearing officer. The hearing officer must prove by a preponderance of evidence that you are guilty, but having a BAC below a .08 is lawful, and thus the officer cannot rule that you are guilty.
There are many defense strategies that an experienced DUI or DWI attorney may utilize to protect your legal rights. If you have received a notification from the DMV of an action taken against your driving privilege, contact our office today. We will contest the action, and limit the repercussions set forth by the DMV. The initial consultation is free. Get your question and concerns resolved, call now.